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20 November 2017, 05:34
Organisations including faith and environmental groups have called on the Scottish Government to make sure the Scottish National Investment Bank exists to make the country greener and more equal.
Responding to the public consultation on the Bank's direction and governance, the civil society organisations said that the Scottish National Investment Bank (SNIB) has a fantastic opportunity to make Scotland fairer and more environmentally friendly.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the establishment of the SNIB in September as she outlined her Scottish Government's legislative programme for the coming year.
Work to develop its remit is being headed by Tesco Bank chief executive Benny Higgins.
Unison, RSPB Scotland, SCIAF, Common Weal, Engender and Friends Of The Earth Scotland are among the organisations responding to the consultation, which closes on November 20.
Unison Scottish organiser Dave Watson said: "Unison welcomes the decision to establish a Scottish National Investment Bank. We have long argued that increased public investment is essential and that austerity policies are immensely damaging to the economy as well as to families struggling to get by.
"We agree that the SNIB is an opportunity to seize the economic opportunities of tackling climate change, but this must be done through an inclusive approach based on Just Transition principles."
Environmental groups said the SNIB offered the opportunity to build a greener future for Scotland.
Friends Of The Earth Scotland finance campaigner Ric Lander said: "Scotland urgently needs new sources of public investment that can fund the transition away from fossil fuels and towards a low-carbon economy.
"With the right remit, the Scottish National Investment Bank can fill this role, creating thousands of green jobs by transforming our transport, heating, housing and electricity.
"It can also remake our economy to benefit everyone with a governance model that represents Scotland's regions, industrial sectors, civil society and trade unions, and reflects the genders, abilities and ethnic backgrounds of our country."
SCIAF director Alistair Dutton said: "Creating the National Investment Bank is an opportunity to help Scotland create a low-carbon economy which protects workers' livelihoods, create new industrial opportunities and deliver a fairer and more equal Scotland."
A Scottish Government spokesman said it welcomed this contribution on the role of SNIB from civil society organisations.
He said: "We are currently consulting on how the bank can best meet its objective of supporting the Scottish economy and working for the benefit of the people of Scotland.
"Benny Higgins has been appointed to develop an implementation plan, which will report early next year.
"The Scottish Government recognises that inclusive growth, built on equality and respect for the environment, is essential.
"The First Minister has also made it clear that the transition to a low carbon economy presents important economic opportunities for our country, which has a strong track record on research and innovation, as well as outstanding sources of renewable energy."